American Museum of Natural History

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Today, Earth's “North Star” is Polaris. #DYK? Since Earth’s axis of rotation slowly changes the direction in which it points, Polaris wasn’t always the North Star, nor will it remain to be. In 3000 B.C.E., a star called Thuban was our North Star, & in ~13,000 yrs, it'll be Vega.
RGGS Gerstner Scholar postdoctoral fellow Jesse Delia and his research on glass frogs featured in National Geographic Magazine’s August 2021 issue, in the article “Perfectly Clear”.… (online link requires subscription)
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With funding from the @NSF, two Museum curators—Chris Raxworthy & Brian Smith—are proposing a common framework for the field of “museomics,” the large-scale analysis of the DNA content of museum collections. Read more about their ongoing research:
Known as chatoyancy (from the French for “cat’s eye”), the effect occurs in other gemstones, but when the term “cat’s eye” is used on its own, it refers exclusively to chrysoberyl. See it up close in the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. (2/3)
💎Please note: Access to the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals is included with general admission to the Museum. Once you arrive at the Museum, look for signs with instructions on how to join the virtual line. For more details, please (3/3)
It’s time for #MineralMonday! Does this gem remind you of anything? This impressive chrysoberyl displays a clear cat’s eye, resulting from parallel fibers within the gem. The linear effect shifts as the direction of illumination changes. #NewYorkRocks (1/3)
#DYK? The gharial is one of the world’s largest crocodilians, with males growing as much as 20 ft (6 m) long! It’s distinguished by its long, narrow snout, which makes it a powerful underwater predator. The snout is lined with sensory cells that detect vibrations underwater.
What’s this ball of plumage? It’s the Tomtit! This resident of New Zealand munches on small invertebrates, as well as on the occasional fruit. It's known for its curious personality, as it often perches on a branch to observe others or to scan the area for a meal.
Dreaming of bigger & better digs? If so, maybe you can relate to the hermit crab. As it grows, it seeks out larger shells to inhabit. Unlike some of its crustacean relatives, it only has armor to cover the front half of its body—leaving its soft hind-parts bare & in need of cover
What’s pink, has forelimbs (but not hind-limbs), and spends most of its time underground? Meet the Mexican mole lizard (Bipes biporus)! It grows about 8.3 in (21.1 cm) long, and each of its forelimbs is equipped with five clawed digits that are used for digging.
Next time you’re at the beach, take a closer look at the sand—you might find shaped grains that are single-celled marine organisms known as foraminifera! They live in various marine habitats around the world. The star-shaped sort pictured is found exclusively on beaches in Japan.
How are you spending this August morning? In the Ermine and Vole diorama, in the Museum's Hall of North American Mammals, an ermine is depicted closely watching a potential meal on an August morning in Baxter State Park, Maine. Plan your weekend trip:
The emperor tamarin mustache you a question—are you ready for the weekend? It’s rumored that this monkey’s common name was inspired by its resemblance to a bewhiskered German emperor. It lives in the Amazonian lowland and spends most of its time in trees.
You’ll all be thrilled to know that the Blue Whale at @AMNH is fully vaccinated 🥰 (help, why is this so ADORABLE?!)0
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How does Harris’s antelope squirrel stay cool while foraging during the hottest hours of the day? In the deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, this squirrel uses its tail like a parasol to shield its body from the Sun’s rays!
This fall, we're hosting a new computational science class for teens: CodeAMNH! Virtual + in-person options are available. Each class will meet 2x/week for 8 weeks. We have a limited number of scholarships available—the deadline to apply for one is 9/17.…
Would you have guessed that this specimen is fossilized fish teeth? It belongs to Helicoprion, or “spiral saw.” Helicoprion—which lived 280 mil yrs ago—had an unusual tooth arrangement in the middle of the lower jaw, where teeth were retained instead of falling out! #FossilFriday
How does the Keel-billed Toucan get around with a beak that accounts for one-third of its total length? Made of keratin, the same material as human hair and fingernails, its beak is hollow and reinforced by bone—and is actually quite light!
Scientists think there’s a genetic basis for this bond, w/ hypersocial dogs carrying variants of genes that underpin their friendly behavior. Appreciate the evolutionary history of members of the dog family, Canidae, by sharing a picture of your pup w/ us! #NationalDogDay (2/2)
It's #NationalDogDay! Dogs evolved from a shared ancestor with wolves at least 10,000 years ago. Studies show that, compared to wolves, canines are generally more interested in humans and more cooperative with their commands.🐾 (1/2)E
Beautiful Creatures, open through 9/19, is on view in the Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery, part of the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. Details: (3/3)
The brooch is crafted with a pearl, rubies, diamonds, emeralds, gold, and platinum. The flexibility of the sea star’s arms allowed the original owner, Rebekah Harkness, to wear it on top of her shoulder with the limbs draping down her body. (2/3)
Pictured is a sea star brooch made by artist Salvador Dalí. Dalí began designing fine jewelry around 1938 & was known for adding surrealist details to all of his creations. See it on display in the Museum's special exhibition Beautiful Creatures. #NewYorkRocks (1/3)
The aardvark is one for a nighttime snack. This mostly nocturnal African animal spends the day sleeping in its burrow, but at night it springs into action, consuming as many as 50,000 insects in one evening! It uses its 12-inch- (1-foot)-long tongue to scoop up ants and termites.
Get to know the spiny flower mantis! When under threat, it strikes a pose in hopes of intimidating its foe. By raising its wings, it reveals markings that resemble big eyes and makes itself appear larger than it actually is.
Some of the world’s most spectacular living light shows are put on by this dinoflagellate. Thousands of particles inside the cell contain the organism’s luciferin & luciferase. Explore the world of bioluminescence in Creatures of Light, open through 9/5!
Pictured is an 11,000-times-life-size model of a Pyrodinium bahamense dinoflagellate from the special exhibition Creatures of Light. This dinoflagellate rides the waves of the Caribbean Sea & collects in large numbers in sheltered coves like Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico.✨
Meet the smallest carnivore in Africa: the dwarf mongoose! It grows about ~9 in (23 cm) tall & feeds mainly on insects, though it will occasionally go after rodents & reptiles. The tiny carnivore lives in open woodland or savanna habitats, in troops of up to 30 individuals.
Get to know the Horned Sungem! This South American hummingbird is found north of the Amazon, where it can be spotted in forests & woodlands foraging for nectar. Males are distinguished by the colorful ‘horns’ that peer out from the top of the head.
"A galaxy typically has a couple hundred billion stars, perhaps trillions of planets, and dark matter components. Yet these galaxies, when we back up and show them, are really these tiny little points."
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#OTD 15 years ago, Pluto officially became a dwarf planet! In 2006, the @IAU_org voted on a new definition for the word “planet” that no longer included Pluto. But it still holds plenty of exciting mysteries.... Learn more with @jfaherty!
Welcome to #TrilobiteTuesday! Pictured is a cluster of Eldredgeops trilobites from the Devonian-age rocks of Michigan. Based on fossil evidence, like the specimens below, scientists think that trilobites were highly communal animals.
Tree kangaroos have strong arms for climbing, & unlike true kangaroos, their arms are about equal in length to their legs. These arboreal marsupials live in montane tropical forests in Australia, Papua New Guinea, & Indonesia. There are more than 10 species of tree kangaroo!🌳�ds
Meet the largest species of the pelican family, the Dalmatian Pelican! Weighing ~28 lbs (13 kg) with a wingspan of ~11 ft (3.5 m), it’s also one of the largest flying birds today. Beyond its size, it’s distinguished by its crest of silvery-white plumage & large throat pouch.
This week on Rick Steves' podcast & radio show, American-born tour guides share their experiences living in Tuscany. And the curator of mammalogy at @AMNH tells what scientists are learning about the fantastic beasts that used to roam Earth. Tune in at
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New paper ( we simulated magnetic fields in these clouds of dense interstellar gas to see if the fields could get strong enough to prevent gravity from causing cloud collapse. (zoom boxes below are each 100 pc = 320 light years on a side). 1/2
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The Museum is open from Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5:30 pm. Tickets are now on sale through September 30! Advance reservations are required. Plan your weekend trip:
💎Learn more in the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals! Please note: Access to these halls is included with general admission, but with limited capacity, visitors are required to join a virtual line (once at the Museum) for entry.
A giant bubble from 130 mil yrs ago, a stone that once “sang,” & a fluorescent slab from across the Hudson River—hear the origin stories of 3 dazzling mineral specimens on view in the Mignone Halls of Gems & Minerals. Watch: #NewYorkRocks #MineralMonday
Meet the Curl-crested Araçari! Distinguished by the glossy black feathers that adorn its head, this bird is a member of the Toucan family. Since it has relatively small wings, it travels through lowland tropical forests in short flights. Its diet mainly consists of fruits.
How does a meerkat keep the Sun’s glare at bay? The black rings around its eyes act like built-in sunglasses, helping to reduce the harsh sunlight in its African habitat. It might be spotted in parts of Angola, Botswana, & S, Africa, where it tends to live in arid & open areas.😎A
I got to experience the world in black and white at the @AMNH Nature of Color exhibit. (Yes, this is a color photo with no filter.)
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Learned things. Took picture with giant sparkly entity. Spent time with one of my favorite humans. Thank you @AMNH 😻U
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What are the bright orange tentacle-like appendages on the Spanish shawl’s back? They’re called cerata, & they serve multiple purposes: they absorb oxygen from surrounding water, & they also store stinging cells, which this nudibranch gets from the anemones it feeds on.
#DYK? The Kori Bustard is the heaviest flying bird in Africa—& one of the heaviest flying birds in the world! Males can weigh ~42 lbs (19 kg), while females weigh ~12 lbs (5.5 kg). Even though it can fly, it prefers to stay grounded, taking to the sky only when threatened.
The world’s largest terrestrial invertebrate? That would be the coconut crab. It can span ~3 ft (1 m) long from leg tip to leg tip & weigh ~8 lbs (4 kg)! It inhabits coasts off of the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Scientists have compared its pinching power to a lion’s bite force!🥥🦀THA
See this diorama up close in the Hall of North American Mammals. The Museum is open from Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5:30 pm. Tickets are now on sale through September 30. Plan your visit:
Today, Alaska’s glaciers are disintegrating faster than they were when this background was painted. Glaciers retreat when more ice melts at their leading edge than snow falls at their mountain source. Climate change is causing severe melting at icy landscapes worldwide.
How's today’s Exhibit of the Day a snapshot of #ClimateChange? The background in the Mountain Goat diorama was painted in 1946; it depicts an August day in Tongass National Forest, AK. If this scene were painted today, the glacier’s edge would be more distant. #ClimateAndNature
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